Brainstorming original concept of selling 3D printed connectors was a true family exercise. Sparked by an AP Physics summer assignment and a summer at Columbia University School of Architecture, 3Dux cofounder Ayana Klein decided to design a product that allows children to repurpose discarded materials in the home in a thoughtful and aesthetic way while blending 3D spatial concepts, geometry, and engineering with art and creative play. Wanting to break out of more typical uses of 3D printing in rapid prototyping, she set out to offer the community a truly functional product that can be manufactured with this technology. 3DuxDesign sold over 3,000 architecture sets and printed over 100,000 connectors before moving to injection mold! (For the math whiz, that would be 277.78 continuous days of printing, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, assuming that the printer never gets clogged.)
Who designed the connectors?
Starting with Ayana's detailed drawings of connector options, Ethan, a freshman in high school at the time, taught himself CAD and engineered the exact geometry that makes our connectors flexible enough to adapt to a range of cardboard thicknesses, snug enough to grab, and smooth enough for little hands to easily assemble their creations. There is a lot of physics and engineering in these seemingly simple connectors!
Where are your products made?
Our original 3D printed connectors were made in-house (literally). They were made with PLA exclusively from COEX, an American company based in Wisconsin. The owner Bill and the rest of the team (even Ashton-their dog) have been instrumental in helping us from the start and their product is superior grade. We have since moved on to injection molded connectors made right here in the USA less than 100 miles from the 3Dux Workshop. The cardboard is sourced from our buddies down the street at Valley Container. Our cardboard is die cut and hand packaged with care, exclusively by the 3DuxDesign team at our Bridgeport Workshop.
Are your products safe?
Absolutely! Our connectors and even the cardboard has been third party tested by an independent certified facility that specializes in testing children's products sold in the USA, All components exceed USA CPSC government standards for child safety. Our products are tested for mechanical strength, sharpness, breakage, lead, phthalates, soluble metals and and a number of chemicals that we cannot pronounce. All connectors have been proven safe for use in all children over 3 years of age. Because the connectors are small, they are considered a choking hazard for younger children.
What is STEAM education?
STEAM is the new STEM. Originally an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, someone quite astutely noticed that Art is a critical component of modern technology. In the real world, good design is about integrating form and function. STEAM takes STEM to the next level.
Do you have a few hours?
1. Imaginative play: You can make human-sized castles and kingdoms, theatre backdrops, cozy homes for your dogs and cats, a maze for your hamster...
2. School projects: You can make unique dioramas for art and displays for science class, or stand out a little with your custom designed 3D posters for inventor fairs.
3. Hands-on engineering and math experience: Build a skyscraper or a bridge. Drawing from physics and geometry, children glean firsthand appreciation of what makes buildings stand.
4. Arts: Paint or color your cardboard pieces and create 3D masterpieces, decoupage cardboard squares with printed photos to make a personalized photo cube. The options are endless.
Do you have an amazing idea for 3Dux?
We LOVE sharing and community feedback. Send us some photos of your latest design, and we will try to post them on our community board, or other social channels. Feel free to use your first name and age, but we won't add your personal information or post photos of you (we don't want to get in trouble). Please be aware that if we get super busy, it may take some time.
Please also send us any feedback. Of course we love positive feedback, but we also want to know if there is something that you are not happy with. This will help us continue to improve our products.